Last year, at the SIHH 2018, Ressence introduced something very special! While the brand has been about mechanical modules that show the time in a very unique manner, the Ressence Type 2 added some connected functionalities to the package – no worries, it has nothing to do with a step counter or a conversation with a phone. It was unique, unprecedented and (very) clever. This watch features a “e-Crown”, making it the first self-setting mechanical watch (and yes, Smart-Tech can make sense). After the underlying concept, here is the last version of the Ressence Type 2 e-Crown, presently with an anthracite case and different updates.
The base concept
The crown, a mechanism to twist and to change watches, was invented by Adrien Philippe (fellow benefactor alongside Antoni Patek of Patek Philippe) in 1842 and has been an unchallenged standard ever since! We use it without intuition to wind the movement or to change the time. It has become so regular that nobody even felt that it would be challenged one day. However, Ressence doesn’t think along these lines. The Type 2’s e-Crown features chips and connectivity, yet it additionally relies on a mechanical movement. So you won’t converse with your watch as a phone or take a gander at Instagram photographs. The connected part serves the watch to make it more user-friendly, smarter in the event that you like.
The principle idea of Ressence with the e-Crown Concept is to revolutionize the manner in which we interact with the watch by really removing the primary part we interact with: the crown. How? By keeping away from the need to change the watch. The e-Crown Concept makes sure your watch is consistently on time, at the perfect time. It features savvy technologies and connectivity, however not for applications. The Ressence Type 2 is as yet mechanical, actually features a balance and an escapement, actually features a mechanical showcase of the time, yet it adds a layer to the signature Ressence concept – a mechanical movement with a presentation module on top named ROCS .
In short, it is a technology, developed by Ressence, that replaces the crown’s capacity with an automated set-up system. It automatically sets and changes your mechanical watch to the correct time, rendering the crown obsolete. How can it work? The e-Crown Concept is an electro-mechanical embedded system that is placed between the mechanical base movement and the in-house ROCS module. It replaces the conventional crown’s setup elements of a mechanical watch.
For Ressence, the e-Crown “acts as an electro-mechanical assistance the same way an automated gearbox does in a car”. First of all, to reassure those who are allergic to smartwatches, the e-Crown can be switched on or off without affecting the watch. The watch can run in full mechanical mode powered by its mechanical base movement. Compared to a Ressence Type 1, it adds an extra layer, as a demonstration of the advantageous interaction between old-school watchmaking and forefront technology.
Placed in-between the mechanical movement (low level) and the ROCS show module (high level) is the e-Crown, an electro-mechanical cluster composed of 87 components. The module is a four-layered 0.25mm thick flexible uniquely constructed PCB that carries and connects all the components. Being tiny and having a very low power utilization posed two challenges to the designers. Energy is provided to the module by photovoltaic cells. When required, triple-intersection photovoltaic cells, hidden behind the dial, will use the outside light as an energy source. The module is, therefore, self-sufficient.
What does this e-Crown do? First, it registers the time set physically by means of the caseback lever. It becomes the reference time for future observing, programmed setting and changing. At any rate once every day, the e-Crown screens the time indicated on the dial. The plate’s positions will then be adjusted consequently (if necessary) as long as the movement of the watch is running. When the watch isn’t worn, and the movement stops, it will place itself into sleep mode and wake up when the watch is back on the wrist. It will then consequently reset the mechanical watch to the correct time (based on the registered time). It is activated and controlled by tapping the glass.
The enchantment doesn’t stop here as the e-Crown likewise embraces connectivity. Ressence developed the e-Crown® application to reach an unseen level of convenience and modernity. Utilizing Bluetooth to connect to the module, the application shows a look down rundown of cities to choose from, however in particular enables multiple time zone settings, accurate to the second.
Ressence Type 2, new design and updates
Last year’s version was as yet a concept model, on which adjustments were required – predominantly on the tech part, as the mechanical module was already natural and reliable. Being pristine and proprietary technology, Ressence needed an extra year to change its duplicate – however now, it is ready to be shipped and worn.
First things first, the design has (marginally) evolved, with a new dull dim PVD covering working on it and a dark dial, instead of the full titanium scheme. Note that a second lighter-colored version will likewise be available. The case respects it modern, angle-free shape, with very reasonable dimensions – 45mm in diameter that wears like 42mm and just 12mm in height.
The remaining evolutions are based on the capacities and interaction between the mechanics and the connected module. As should be obvious, more apertures have been added to the dial, into the hour sub-counter. Underneath, extra photovoltaic cells provide more energy to the watch. The others, which already existed on the concept version, are as yet hidden between moving “vents” that open when energy is required. This was done because the kinetic energy supply provided to the e-Crown by a wavering mass, has been removed – the cells were, truth be told, even more efficient in this case.
Finally, an extra capacity has been added when the watch goes into “sleep mode”. After 12 hours of latency, the concept watch would stop to save the electric energy. Presently, a new mechanism has been added to impede the barrel. In this way, when the watch goes into sleep mode, the connected part stops and the barrel stops simultaneously, whatever the remaining torque. This means that when you “wake up” the watch, even after weeks of dormancy, you just have to double tap on it to make it work again – initiating both the electronic parts just as the mechanical part, as the barrel is released with some energy in it. Furthermore, that is very clever.
The Ressence Type 2 e-Crown will be introduced authoritatively at the SIHH 2019 out of a few days, and we’ll make sure to return to this point in a more detailed article with involved experience and our contemplations after playing with it. Price will be CHF 42,500 (taxes excluded). More details at ressence.com .